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Scratch Pad


Measure twice; cut once.

Get Current System Specifications

  • Which make/model of hard-drive is currently in your system?
    • Apple - About This Mac - More Info
    • Hardware - Serial ATA
      • Look up the model at the manufacturers web site.
        • What are the physical dimensions? Don't want a replacement drive that's too thick.
        • What are the interface specs?
  • Depending on your performance and capacity needs, choose a new drive of the same interface type - Serial ATA.

Tools You Will Need

  • Screw drivers
    • Phillips 00 and/or 000 size
    • Torx T6 size
  • Digital Camera
    • Take lots of pictures, every step of the way.
  • Tray to receive screws
    • You don't want to loose any! Group them in the order you remove them. This will make it a lot easier to re-install them in reverse order.

Create the New Drive Image

Make the Image

  • Make an identical, bootable copy of your current system on the new drive

Verify Image Bootable (optional)

  • (optional) Verify that the new drive is bootable using a FireWire-to-SATA interface.
    • Power off your computer
    • Plug in the FireWire drive
    • Hold down the option key and press the Power button. When presented with the option to boot from the internal or external drives, select the external.
  • Note 1: Don't be tempted to play too much with the imaged drive yet. As the final step, you'll need to rename the new transplanted drive or some applications won't work properly.

Perform the Transplant

It's not brain surgery, but given the size and compactness of parts (relative to a more familiar desktop system), resist the temptation to force anything.

  • If a screw doesn't slide in easily, back it out and try again and/or make sure you have picked the correct screw.
  • Don't be sloppy with your screw extraction technique. If the screw driver seems to have too much wiggle room in a screw's head, try a size larger or smaller tip size. Press down firmly enough that the driver doesn't pop out but not so much that boards bend; it's the twist that moves the screw, not the press.
  • Keep track of all your parts and disassembly order
    • I took pictures for each new row of screws, and kept them in order on a piece of paper.
  • Use a clean surface - grit will scratch your MBPro very easily.
  • Static electricity is your enemy. If you don't have a ready anti-static surface to work on, gather together all the anti-static bags and pieces of anti-static foam you have (hard drives and memory cards often ship in them) and use those.

Re-assemble Your System

  • Put everything back together in the reverse order.
    • When in doubt, look at the photos you took along the way. They are automagically in forward order, so note where you are in assembling, find the same location in your pictures and zoom in.
  • Unless you really need it for something, put your original drive aside in a safe place. If something is wrong with your new drive the problem will usual manifest in the first while of use.


  • Help! My system won't boot!
    • Make sure you put the memory DIMMs all the way in no gold pins showing. This one got me.
    • If the new SATA drive is 3.0Gb/s capable but the old was a 1.5Gb/s, you may have to explicitly set the new drive jumper to 1.5Gb/s mode. Mine was set to this be default, but I've run into this issue using 3.5" SATA drives through my eSATA interface. The drives are fine via USB 2.0 interface, but eSATA is more direct and chip-set dependent.
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